The Story of I: Some Comments on L.R.Baker 'Persons & Bodies'
Garrett (Brian)
Source: Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, e-Symposium on "Persons & Bodies: A Constitution View"
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. In her thorough and comprehensive study "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View", Lynne Rudder Baker argues for what she calls the Constitution View of persons. This view comprises two strands.
    • According to one strand, persons are constituted by, but not identical with, their bodies.
    • According to the other strand, persons are essentially self-conscious beings with a distinctively first-person perspective on the world.
    The book is basically an elucidation and defence of these two strands.
  2. I am pretty much in agreement with Baker on both strands.
    • I agree, contra the Animalists, that persons are not identical to their bodies/brains, but reject Dualism; so I agree that the relation between a person and his body is constitution-without-identity.
    • And I agree that persons are distinctively and uniquely self-conscious beings, with a first-person perspective on themselves and the world.
    (My own views on these matters, for what they’re worth, are set out in my short book "Garrett (Brian) - Personal Identity and Self-consciousness" (Routledge, 1998).)
  3. However, I found it a bit odd that both these strands were described as comprising the Constitution View, as if the two strands formed a unified view. I would have thought that ‘Constitution View’ is really only a name for the first, metaphysical, strand; after all, many different metaphysical conceptions of the relation between a person and his body could agree that there is an intimate link between personhood and self-consciousness. But this may just be a book-keeping point. What of more substantial issues? I have no intention of discussing every issues Baker raises, and will confine my comments largely to claims made in Chapters 3, 5 and 9, ie. to .


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